The current edition of Around the World on a Bicycle by Thomas Stevens is missing the first two pages of Volume II. Thanks to Gary Young, I received a copy of the missing pages, reproduced below. If you haven't had a chance to see the book, this gives a good taste of Stevens' writing style.
The season of 1885-86 has been an exceptionally mild winter in the Persian capital. Up to Christmas the weather was clear and bracing, sufficiently cool to be comfortable in the daytime, and with crisp, frosty weather at night. The first snow of the season commenced falling while a portion of the English colony were enjoying a characteristic Christmas dinner of roast-beef and plum-pudding, at the house of the superindendent of the Indo-European Telegraph Station, and during January and February, snow-storms, cold and drizzling rains alternated with brief periods of clearer weather. When the sun shines from a cloudless sky in Teheran, its rays are sometimes uncomfortably warm, even in midwinter; a foot of snow may have clithed the city and the surrounding plain in a soft, white mantle during the night, but, asserting his supremacy on the following morning, he will unveil the gray nakedness of the stony plain again by noon. The steadily retreating snow-line will be driven back -- back over the undulating foot-hills, and some little distance up the rugged slopes of the Elburz range, hard by, ere he retires from view in the evening, rotund and firey. This irregular snow-line has been steadily losing ground, and retreating higher and higher up the mountain-slopes during the latter half of February, and when March is ushered in, with clear sunny weather, and the mud begins drying up and the various indications of spring begin to put in their appearance, I decide to make a start. Friends residing here who have been mentioning April 15th as the date I should be justified in thinking the unsettled weather at an end and pulling out eastward again, agree, in response to my anxious inquiries, that it is an open spell of weather before the regular spring rains, that may possibly last until I reach Meshed.
During the winter I have examined, as far as circumstances have permitted, the merits and demerits of the different routes to the Pacific Coast, and have decided upon going through Turkestan and Southern Siberia to the Amoor Valley, and thence either follow down the valley to Vladivostok or strike across Mongolia to Pekin -- the latter route by preference, if upon reaching Irkutsk I find it to be practicable; if not practicable, then the Amoor Valley route from necessity. This route I approve of, as it will not only take me through some of the most interesting country in Asia, but will probably be a more straightaway continuous land-journey than any other. The distance from Teheran to Vladivostok is some six thousand miles, and, well aware that six thousand miles with a bicycle over Asiatic roads is a task of no little magnitude, I at once determine upon taking advantage of the fair March weather to accomplish at least the first six hundred miles of the journey between Teheran and Meshed, one of the holy cities of Persia.
The bicycle is in good trim, my own health is splendid, my experience of nearly eight thousand miles of straightaway wheeling over the roads of three continents ought to count for something and it is with every confidence of accomplishing my undertaking without serious misadventure that I set about making my final preparations to start. The British Charge d'Affaires gives me a letter to General Melnikoff, the Russian Minister at the Shah's court, explaining the nature and object of my journey, and asking him to render me whatever assistance he can to get through, for most of the proposed route lies through Russian territory. Among my Teheran friends is Mr. M--, a lively, dapper little telegraphist, who knows three or four different languages, and who never seems happier than when called upon to act the part of interpreter for friends about him.
Among other distinguishing qualities, Mr. M-- shines in Teheran society as the only Briton with sufficient courage to wear a chimney-pot hat. Although the writer has seen the "stove-pipe" of the unsuspecting tenderfoot from the Eastern States made short work of in a far Western town, and the occurrence seemed scarcely to be out of place there, I little expected to find popular sentiment running in the same warlike groove, and asserting itself in the same [....]
Continued on Vol 2, p.3.
This page written by Josh Putnam. Please feel free to email questions, comments, corrections, suggestions, etc.